If I asked what your favorite song of all time is, could you answer? As a musician, my first reaction to answering this question is, “Which genre of music? Can I give you a list of top-10 favorites? I don’t think I can answer that.” And then I remember….
I was in elementary school in a small town in northern Illinois. During this time of my life, I was sure of two things: I loved baseball and I loved Jesus. Being a pastor’s kid meant I was at church more times a week than I was at school, and it didn’t hurt that we lived across the parking lot. Sunday nights were my favorite services for two reasons. First, there was no children’s ministry, so I got to hear my dad preach. Secondly, we didn’t have a formal worship time, and my dad would ask the people which songs they would like to sing. I would sit in the worn, wooden pew, waiting for him to extend the invitation. “Are there any song requests?”
My hand shot up and I held it there, as high as it would reach. I knew just the song I was going to name. It was the same one I requested every week. Never mind that my dad got sick of singing it. Never mind if anyone was tired of it. This was THE greatest song of all time. I waited patiently to be called on. We sang “The Old Rugged Cross” and “In The Garden.” My arm was getting tired, but I hadn’t lost hope. That is when a college student who was sharing the pew with me, raised his hand. When called on, he said, “I’d like to request number 44?” My hand slid down and I looked over at him. With that question and a wink, he became my hero. We were going to sing my song.
I don’t know what it was about “Blessed Assurance” that touched my heart as a child. Maybe it was the anthem-fueled melody; maybe it was the fact that I could actually remember the words. I do, however, know what it is that stitched this song to my heart throughout the years that followed. It would become the very purpose of my life.
This song is the story of the gift of Jesus and all that comes with that amazing relationship. I am still overwhelmed at the thought of being “born of His Spirit” and the daily and eternal realities of being “washed in His blood.” The paradox of “perfect submission, perfect delight” brings me back to the cross again and again—knowing that giving God everything that He deserves is the only activity that brings supernatural joy.
Lastly, when I meditate on being “filled with His goodness, lost in His love,” my heart naturally and easily spills out that life’s purpose:
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is why I am here, on this earth. It was why I was created. My purpose is not to sing this song at the top of my lungs in church (although that may happen from time to time). My purpose is to tell this story of Jesus, to sing this song of who He is, all day, every day. When I go to work, I want my life to tell this story. When I go to one of my children’s baseball games, I want this song to ring out over the other parents and kids. When I’m concerned with the struggles of this life, I want perspective and hope to rise from “praising my Savior all the day long.”
David, a King chosen by the Lord and the primary writer of the Psalms, sang to the Lord the words of this song:
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
What story has your life been telling?
What ways can you praise God today?
God, You are the hope of my life, the assurance that I will be with you forever. Help me to live in that reality every day, to find joy in your love and strength. In Your name, amen.